“Mama? Can’t you play with me for just one minute?
Mama? Can you read me a book before you go to work?
Mama’s not here, my husband must answer. She went to work early.
I’ve missed doctor’s appointments. I’ve not been the one to soothe his hot forehead with kisses. Haven’t been able to sit around and watch movies on sick days.
I must pass on being one of the parents to accompany the class to the science museum, and I didn’t bring the birthday cupcakes to school and watch as his friends sang “Happy Birthday.”
I’ve had to leave while he’s crying and begging me to stay. Torn myself out of his tight little grip while I find a quiet place to take a conference call. I’ve explained how his father will take him to school and that no, honey, sorry I won’t be able to walk you home from school tomorrow.
It’s heart wrenching every time. But I don’t want or expect pity. Not even empathy. Out of necessity and want, I choose to be a working mother. Sometimes it hurts. Other times it’s OK. And no, we can’t have it all. No one can.
In this day and age of stay-at-home dads and true shared responsibilities of both parents, some working dads feel the same pangs of not being able to be there for everything.
It’s valuable to remember that kids don’t need us to be there for every single thing. It strengthens bonds with both parents to have one-on-one time with children. And I love hearing the pride or excitement in my son’s voice when he talks about something special he did only with his tata.
I know he acts differently when I’m not around, and I want him to have experiences with his friends and teachers that don’t involve me. He’ll learn so much.
I read about the struggles of working mothers. I do that because I want to know I’m not alone. I want to learn how others cope. How they manage their time, their conflicting demands for time.
And yes, there are benefits of being a working mom. The upsides are also well covered, and I don’t have much to add to that conversation besides empathy, me-toos and my own stories of career development.
Among the talk about the missed recitals, school pickups and field trips, there are other big adjustments and allowances in the times we are together.
I am often second choice.
“Mama? Tata needs to put the band aid on me. You don’t know how.
Mama? I have to ask tata if I can do this. He makes the rules.”
I sometimes must accept my son thinking I can’t do something or help him in some way because he thinks I don’t know how.
I sometimes must accept that he believes mama’s rules aren’t as serious or important. They don’t need heeding all the time because I’m not around.
We talk about it together. We explain things as a couple. In sync. Mama’s rules are as important. Mama knows how to turn on that game or find that toy.
Things will shift. And again. He’s nearly 5, and the only constant in raising a child, I’ve discovered, is that it’s always, always changing.
Field hockey is an Olympic sport. So is handball. What other lesser-known sports are we missing in the US?
I’m always riveted by the Olympics. I love watching them. I’ve never watched, however, from outside the US. Fortunately, this year, the Rio spectacular is occurring during my August in the Czech Republic. And wow, mine eyes have been opened.
Our network TV companies have been holding back. While in Czech, I can access nearly round-the-clock athletic competitions. Much of it is live. I just caught highlights from women’s wrestling. And looks like I’m about to watch some more. Who will win – Azerbaijan or Venezuela? I’m spellbound. Find out for yourself.
“People like us do things like this,” wrote Seth Godin.
He said, “There are a lot of disconnected people out there. Most of us are disconnected. And if you can find the threads to connect people, you can create value.”
There are so many aspects to each of our lives and numerous potential threads to connect. But what binds? It’ll be something different for me than for you. Then we’re not in the same tribe.
Is it at simple as friendship? That’s something else, equally as valuable. It’s a common need, a gap, a line that needs filled. A place in our lives where we need support, input, others in order to thrive.
Identifying our own points of disconnection can help others. If we do something about it.
There’s self help and then there’s the next step, putting something out into the world to connect people. Neither are easy.
Can you teach someone to hustle? If hustling isn’t their nature.
Can you teach the gift of gab? To someone who tends on the quiet, introverted side.
And if you could, should you?